Monday, October 31, 2011

Hair for the heck of it

Last Saturday, I was heading over to Westlake Center to hear some speeches at the Occupy Seattle gathering, when I crossed paths with this fine-looking fellow.

"May I take your picture?" I asked.

He not only let me take the photo, he posed for me. I am especially intrigued by this mohawk style -- I see a lot of it on Seattle streets. People get their hair to stand on end using hair spray, gel, white glue, and/or egg white. The colors can be fuchsia pink, dayglo orange, or more subtle, like this dusty teal.

"You get used to having to style it in the mornings, but people still ask me all the time to touch it," posts Jade at Mohawks and Liberty Spikes. "Depending on the gel you use, your hair can feel like rubber and will spring back up if you try to knock it down."

Eye-catching, to say the least. But I could not leave it at that. I am one of those people who overthinks stuff. I wanted to know why. Why do people choose to wear their hair in a manner that forces them to tilt their heads to drive? Surely, they're making a statement of some kind, but what can it be?

While the most recent mohawk trend appears to be born of punk rock, historically, it's been around for millenia. It was recorded on the burial artwork of Scythian warriors in 600 B.C., on up through the Mohawk tribe of North America, the Cossacks, and WWII GIs (wikipedia). Quite a few commenters at the Mohawks and Liberty Spikes site said they always wanted to have a mohawk, but never had the guts. So it's daring, I get that.

But other than mustering courage and looking fearsome to one's enemies, it seems as if there's not much rhyme or reason for it. My fine-looking fellow's hair color goes so far as to match the shirt he's wearing.

And really, why not?